Was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States, who became the youngest man ever elected President until he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy won the presidency with his New Frontier program after a series of television debates, with his opponent Republican Vice President Richard Nixon, at the age of 43. Kennedy a Democrat from Massachusetts, was the first President of the Roman Catholic faith, also was the first President born in the 20th Century and the only President won the Pulitzer Prize.
He won world respect as the leader of the Free World. Was involved in different events on the Cuban missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, the Nuclear Ban Treaty, establishment of the Peace Corps, development in the Space Race, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Trade Expansion Act to lower tariffs, and the Civil Rights Movement, which all took during his presidency.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969) and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890-1995), was born on Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917.
Kennedy’s ancestors were Irish farmer of Wexford County in Southeastern Ireland. His great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, left Ireland during the great potato famine of the 1840’s and settled in Boston.
His grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, became a state senator and the political boss of a ward in Boston. Kennedy’s mother also came from a political family.
Her father John F. Fitzgerald, a politician who served in the state Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
He also served as mayor of Boston for two terms. Kennedy’s father Joseph P. Kennedy was a self-made millionaire, a businessman, investor, and politician known for his high-profile positions in the US politics.
Served as first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as ambassador to Great Britain under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Kennedy has 8 siblings, Joseph Jr (1915-1944), his elder brother, was killed in World War II, Rosemary (1918-2005), Kathleen (Kit) (1920-1948), Eunice (1921-2009), Patricia (1924-2006), who was married to Peter Lawford, Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968), a politician, IS Attorney General, and Senator, Jean (1928-) and Ted (1932-2009), a politician, served as a US Senator.
The Kennedys moved to bigger homes and better neighborhoods, as the family grew and Joseph became wealthier. Moved from Brookline to Riverdale, NY, then Bronxville, NY, both in New York. As the Kennedys grew up, their parents encouraged them to develop their own talents and interests. Loyalty to each other was important to the Kennedys. Bu the children also developed a strong competitive spirit. John also called as Jack by his family, and his older brother Joe Jr, they were strong rivals. Jack was quiet and often shy, but held his own in fights with Joe.
Joseph Patrick “Joe” Kennedy Jr. (July 25, 1915 – August 12, 1944) was a United States Navy lieutenant. He was killed in action while serving as a land-based patrol bomber pilot in World War II and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (1888–1969) and Rose Fitzgerald (1890–1995).
Joe Sr. had plans for Joe Jr. to become President.[page needed] However, Joe Jr. was killed while participating in a top-secret mission in 1944, and the high expectations of the father then fell upon Joe Jr.’s younger brother John, who was later elected President.
In education, Kennedy attended elementary schools in Brookline and Riverdale. I 1930, at the age of 13, his father sent him to the Canterbury school in New Milford, Conn. Next year he was transferred to Choate Academy in Wallingford, Conn., and was graduated from Choate in 1935 at the age of 18. Kennedy spent the summer of 1935 in England, he enrolled at Princeton University at that fall, but then he developed jaundice and left school after Christmas. Later Kennedy entered Harvard University in 1936, where he majored in government and international relations. In 1939, Kennedy spends the spring and summer in Europe, traveled from country to country, he interviewed politicians and statesman. He sent his father detailed reports on their views of the crisis that soon led to World War II in September, 1939, toured in Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East, in preparation for his Harvard senior honors thesis. The time Nazi Party was in power.
Back at Harvard, Kennedy tried to explain in his senior thesis on why Britain hadn’t been ready for war. Published a book called Why England Slept, which became a best-selling book, which examines the buildup of German. Published in 1940, the book examines the failures of the British government to take steps to prevent World War II and is notable for its uncommon stance of not castigating the appeasement policy of the British government at the time, instead suggesting that an earlier confrontation between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany could well have been more disastrous in the long run
Kennedy was graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in government, then enrolled in the Standard University graduate business school, but dropped out months later. Later enlisted as a seaman in the Navy.
Few months, Kennedy was stationed in Washington DC. He applied for sea duty following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Kennedy was assigned to a PT boat Squadron in late 1942. After learning to command one of the small craft, he was commissioned as an ensign.
First commander was PT 101 from Dec 7 1942-Feb 23 1943. It was a PT boat used for training while Kennedy was an instructor at Melville. Then led three Huskins PT boats PT 98, PT 99, and PT 101, being relocated from MTBRON4 in Melville, Rhode Island, back to Jacksonville, FL and the new MTBRON14. Kennedy was assigned duty in Panama and later in the Pacific theater, where he commanded two more patrol torpedo (PT) boats. In April 1943, he was assigned to Motor Torpedo Squadron Two.
On April 24, Kennedy took command of PT 109 which was based at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. Kennedy’s PT boat was assigned to patrol duty off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
On August 2, 1943, a Japanese destroyer called Amagiri cut his boat in two. Two of the crew were killed, Kennedy gathered his 10 surviving crew member including those injured around the wreckage, to vote on whether to fight or surrender. Next morning, Kennedy ordered his men to swim to a nearby island. Despite an injured back, he spent five hours towing one of the disabled crewmen to shore. Spent most of the next four days in the water, searching for help.
On the fifth day, he persuaded friendly natives on Cross Island to go for help, by using a coconut and cut a following message: “NAURO ISL COMMANDER KNOWS POS’IT HE CAN PILOT II ALIVE NEED SMALL BOAT KENNEDY”. Kennedy’s crews were rescued on August 7. For his heroism and leadership, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. For being wounded in combat, he was awarded the Purple Heart.
In December 1943, the navy, returned Lieutenant Kennedy to the United States. He was suffering from malaria and his injured back gave him great pain. After recovering, Kennedy spent rest of his naval service as an instructor and in various military hospitals. He then had a short career as a newspaper reporter, where he was arranged by his father as a Special Correspondent for Hearst Newspapers, wanted as a correspondent that May, 1945, covering the Potsdam Conference and other events.
Career in Congress
The Kennedy’s thought Jack would become a teacher or a writer, but when his brother Joseph Jr was killed in action in World War II in 1944, Kennedy went into politics, began his political career in 1946, where he ran the US House of Representatives. He opposed nine others for nomination in the solidly Democratic 11th Congressional District of Massachusetts. He won the nomination and went on to easily defeat his Republican opponent. The 1946 Campaign set a pattern that played a major part in Kennedy’s political success. His brothers and sisters helped him win the nomination. So did his mother. But his father wasn’t active in Kennedy’s Campaigns. His father’s isolationism before World War II, his conservatism, and his wealth made him a controversial figure.
In January 1947, Kennedy took his seat in Congress, until later that year, he became seriously ill, and the doctors discovered that he was suffering from a malfunction of the adrenal glands.
To control the ailment, he had to take medicine daily for the rest of his life.
He served as a congressman for 6 years. In foreign policy, he was a supporter for Cold War policies during the Truman administration by backing the Truman Doctrine as well as the Marshall Plan.
However, he accused the US Department of State of trying to force Chiang Kai-Shek into a conflict with Mao Zedong.
He voted for most of the social welfare programs of President Harry S. Truman.
Was re-elected to the House of Representative in 1948 and 1950.
After serving three terms in the US House of Representatives, Kennedy decided to run for a seat in the US Senate which he announced in April 1952, representing Massachusetts against incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. Kennedy’s brothers and sisters, their wives and husbands, and his mother joined him in the campaign. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican presidential candidate, carried Massachusetts in the 1952 Election. Kennedy defeated Lodge by 70,637 votes for the Senate seat.
In 1951, Kennedy met Jacqueline Bouvier at a dinner party, was the daughter of a wealthy Wall Street broker, John V. Bouvier III.
She had attended Vassar College and the Sorbonne in Paris. She was a student when she met Kennedy.
She later worked at George Washington University as a photographer for the Washington Times-Herald. Jackie and Kennedy married on September 12, 1953.
They had four kids, a daughter was stillborn on August 23, 1956, unnamed, Caroline was born on November 27, 1957, their son John Jr. was born on November 25, 1960, and another son Patrick was born on August 7 1963 but died two days later on August 9 1963.
As First Lady, she was known of her fashion and was known for her highly publicized restoration of the White House and her emphasis on arts and culture.
At age 31, Jacqueline became the third youngest First Lady in American history—behind Frances Folsom (21) and Julia Gardiner (24).
As a presidential couple, the Kennedys differed from the Eisenhower’s by their political affiliation, youth, and their relationship with the media.
Historian Gil Troy has noted that in particular, they “emphasized vague appearances rather than specific accomplishments or passionate commitments” and therefore fit in well in the early 1960s’ “cool, TV-oriented culture”.
The discussion about Jacqueline’s fashion choices continued during her years in the White House, and she became a trendsetter, hiring American designer Oleg Cassini to design her wardrobe.
She was the first presidential wife to hire a press secretary, Pamela Turnure, and carefully managed her contact with the media, usually shying away from making public statements, and strictly controlling the extent to which her children were photographed. Kennedy was portrayed by the media as the ideal woman, leading academic Maurine Beasley to observe that she “created an unrealistic media expectation for first ladies that would challenge her successors.”
Nevertheless, the First Lady attracted worldwide positive public attention and gained allies for the White House and international support for the Kennedy administration and its Cold War policies.
Although Jacqueline stated that her priority as a First Lady was to take care of the President and their children, she also dedicated her time to the promotion of American arts and preservation of its history.
The restoration of the White House was her main contribution, but she also furthered the cause by hosting social events that brought together elite figures from politics and the arts. One of her unrealized goals was to found a Department of the Arts, but she did contribute to the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities, established during Johnson’s tenure.
White House restoration
Jacqueline had visited the White House twice prior to becoming First Lady, once as a tourist in 1941 and again as the guest of Mamie Eisenhower shortly before her husband’s inauguration. She was dismayed to find that the mansion’s rooms were furnished with undistinguished pieces that displayed little historical significance and made it her first major project as First Lady to restore its historical character. On her first day in residence, she began her efforts with the help of interior decorator Sister Parish. She decided to make the family quarters attractive and suitable for family life by adding a kitchen on the family floor and new rooms for her children.
The $50,000 that had been appropriated for this effort was almost immediately exhausted. Continuing the project, she established a fine arts committee to oversee and fund the restoration process and solicited the advice of early American furniture expert Henry du Pont. To solve the funding problem, a White House guidebook was published, sales of which were used for the restoration. Working with Rachel Lambert Mellon, Kennedy also oversaw the redesign and replanting of the White House Rose Garden and the East Garden, which was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden after her husband’s assassination. In addition, Kennedy helped to stop the destruction of historic homes in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., because she felt these buildings were an important part of the nation’s capital and played an essential role in its history.
Prior to Kennedy’s years as First Lady, furnishings and other items had been taken from the White House by presidents and their families when they departed; this lead to the lack of original historical pieces in the mansion. To track down these missing furnishings and other historical pieces of interest, she personally wrote to possible donors. She also initiated a Congressional bill establishing that White House furnishings would be the property of the Smithsonian Institution, rather than available to departing ex-presidents to claim as their own, and founded the White House Historical Association, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, the position of a permanent Curator of the White House, the White House Endowment Trust, and the White House Acquisition Trust. She was the first presidential spouse to hire a White House curator.
On February 14, 1962, Jacqueline took American television viewers on a tour of the White House with Charles Collingwood of CBS News. In the tour she stated that “I feel so strongly that the White House should have as fine a collection of American pictures as possible. It’s so important… the setting in which the presidency is presented to the world, to foreign visitors. The American people should be proud of it. We have such a great civilization. So many foreigners don’t realize it. I think this house should be the place we see them best.” The film was watched by 56 million television viewers in the United States, and was later distributed to 106 countries. Kennedy won a special Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees Award for it at the Emmy Awards in 1962, which was accepted on her behalf by Lady Bird Johnson. Kennedy was the only First Lady to win an Emmy.
Throughout her husband’s presidency, Kennedy made many official visits to other countries, on her own or with the President – more than any of the preceding First Ladies. Despite the initial worry that she might not have “political appeal”, she proved popular among international dignitaries. Before the Kennedys’ first official visit to France in 1961, a television special was shot in French with the First Lady on the White House lawn. After arriving in the country, she impressed the public with her ability to speak French, as well as her extensive knowledge of French history. At the conclusion of the visit, Time magazine seemed delighted with the First Lady and noted, “There was also that fellow who came with her.” Even President Kennedy joked, “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris – and I have enjoyed it!”
From France, the Kennedys traveled to Vienna, Austria, where Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, when asked to shake the President’s hand for a photo, stated, “I’d like to shake her hand first.” Khrushchev later sent her a puppy, significant for being the offspring of Strelka, the dog that had gone to space during a Soviet space mission.
At the urging of U.S. Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith, Kennedy undertook a tour of India and Pakistan with her sister Lee Radziwill in 1962, which was amply documented in photojournalism of the time as well as in Galbraith’s journals and memoirs. She was gifted with a horse called Sardar by the President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, as he had found out on his visit to the White House that he and the First Lady had a common interest in horses. Life magazine correspondent Anne Chamberlin wrote that Kennedy “conducted herself magnificently” although noting that her crowds were smaller than those that President Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II attracted when they had previously visited these countries. In addition to these well-publicized trips during the three years of the Kennedy administration, she traveled to countries including Afghanistan, Austria, Canada, Colombia, England, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, and Venezuela.
After her husband’s death, she later married Aristotle Onassis, in 1968.
Kennedy concentrated at first on helping Massachusetts and New England. Sponsored bills to help local industries such as fishing, textile manufacturing, and watchmaking. Served on the Senate Labor Committee, and the Government Operations Committee, chaired by Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, Kennedy’s father’s strong supporter of McCarthy, who was also a friend of the Kennedy family, as well as Robert F. Kennedy wanted for McCarthy’s subcommittee. Robert Kennedy, Kennedy’s brother, served for a time on the Government Operations Committee Staff as an assistant counsel. McCarthy was the most controversial figure in American politics, due to his attacks on communist influence in government, and violated the civil liberties.
During his Senate, Kennedy’s back caused him served pain, in October 1954 and February 1955, he went under surgery.
In 1956, he wrote a book about some of the brave deeds of eight US Senators, he listed their careers for their beliefs.
The book profiles senators who defied the opinions of their party and constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. It begins with a quote from Edmund Burke on the courage of the English statesman Charles James Fox, in his 1783 attack upon the tyranny of the East India Company in the House of Commons.
The book focuses intensely on mid-19th century antebellum America and the efforts of Senators to delay the Civil War. Profiles was widely celebrated and became a best seller.
Summary of senators
- John Quincy Adams, from Massachusetts, for breaking away from the Federalist Party.
- Daniel Webster, also from Massachusetts, for speaking in favor of the Compromise of 1850.
- Thomas Hart Benton, from Missouri, for staying in the Democratic Party despite his opposition to the extension of slavery in the territories.
- Sam Houston, from Texas, for speaking against the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854, which would have allowed those two states to decide on the slavery question. Houston wanted to uphold the Missouri Compromise. He and Benton’s votes against Kansas–Nebraska did just that. This was his most unpopular vote and he was defeated when running for reelection. Two years later he’d regained enough popularity to be elected Governor of Texas. However, when the state convened in special session and joined the Confederacy, Sam Houston refused to be inaugurated as governor, holding true to his ideal of preserving the Union.
- Edmund G. Ross, from Kansas, for voting for acquittal in the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial. As a result of Ross’s vote, along with those of six other Republicans, Democrat Johnson’s presidency was saved, and the stature of the office was preserved.
- Lucius Lamar, from Mississippi, for eulogizing Charles Sumner on the Senate floor and other efforts to mend ties between the North and South during Reconstruction, and for his principled opposition to the Bland–Allison Act to permit free coinage of silver. Lamar returned to Mississippi and gave rousing speeches that eventually led to public approval of his decisions and cemented a legacy of courageousness.
- George Norris, from Nebraska, for opposing Joseph Gurney Cannon’s autocratic power as Speaker of the House, for speaking out against arming U.S. merchant ships during the United States’ neutral period in World War I, and for supporting the Presidential Campaign of Democrat Al Smith.
- Robert A. Taft, from Ohio, for criticizing the Nuremberg Trials for trying Nazi war criminals under ex post facto laws. Counter-criticism against Taft’s statements was vital to his failure to secure the Republican nomination for President in 1948.
After its release on January 1, 1956, Profiles in Courage became a best seller. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957, even though it was not one of the finalists forwarded to the Pulitzer Prize board from the selection committee. Kennedy’s father Joseph asked columnist Arthur Krock, his political adviser and a longtime member of the prize board, to persuade others to vote for it.
Profiles in Courage was made into a television series of the same name that aired on the NBC network during the 1964–1965 television season
1956 Democratic National Convention
In June 1956, Kennedy was to be nominated for Vice President by Adlai Stevenson II, but lost to Senator Estes Kefaver of Tennessee but receiving national exposure as a result. Kennedy also worked for moderate legislation to end alleged corruption in labor unions. The member of a Senate Committee investigating racketeering in labor-management relations. His brother Robert was counsel of the Committee.
The Kennedys and other Committee members engaged in dramatic arguments with controversial labor leaders, including Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste, by a wide, margin of 874,608 votes, largest ever in Massachusetts in politics. Robert E. Thompson, put together a film entitled The US Senator John F. Kennedy Story, exhibited a day in the life of the Senator and showcased his family life as well as the inner workings of his office.